The party began in earnest when the sun set a few minutes later. By midnight they were telling tales that ran all the way from an Embassy in Somalia to a pirate ship off the coast of West Africa. Different people told of different events. Then from out of nowhere the pilot from Bolivia appeared.
He told the story of me dropping the mortar shells out the window of his plane onto the drug lord’s home. He ended it with, “I was scared shitless, but Sylvia threw those shells out and cursed. She cursed because we didn’t have more mortars. I knew then that it would be alright, because nobody as evil as Sylvia was going to die in a simple plane crash. She is destined for some more heroic death.”
“‘Aye Lad, I don’t know how heroic it is. Death is just death. Only the living care how it happened, Liam Logan.” I said that and raised my drink. By midnight I was sitting at the end of the bar alone. Everyone else was celebrating, but I wasn’t quite over my depression.
Martin came to stand beside me before midnight. “Did you call the CEO of the Electric Car Company?”
“I did. We are going to meet day after tomorrow in his cabin in the woods,” I said. “I assume it’s safe since you sent me his number.”
“I vetted him, but no one ever knows who they are really talking to for sure. Go armed,” Martin said.
“I always do,” I said opening my coat to show him the upside down holster containing the eight shot .22 mag revolver.
“Good for you, there are about as many guns in this room as there are in that country gun store down the road. Even more, if we all went to our cars,” Martin said.
“I left my big stuff at the barge,” I said.
“I’m going to have to come down to see you and Allen when he moves,” the colonel said.
“You are always welcome. I even have a spare bedroom now,” I replied.
“One always needs a spare bedroom. Just like one always needs a spare airstrip in case of emergency. Would you consider a beacon for your strip? One that only you and I would know about, unless we had a wounded duck coming in?” the colonel asked.
“It’s only a hundred more miles to your place,” I said.
“Sometimes that is too far,” The Colonel said.
“I guess that could be true, but get this Martin, no packages of any sort. I have CCTV and I will know,” I said.
“No need for the warning. We will not be landing in anything, but an emergency. I give you my word,” he said.
“Give me the beacon and I’ll put it down there, however, I do not have any power on the strip,” I said.
“You have solar, but I’ll have someone put up the solar panel we need,” he agreed.
“Yeah do that but don’t do it till I get back. You can plant a GPS marker without me being there. You can most likely call it an exercise and not scare the hell out of everyone in town,” I suggested.
“Sure we can do that. The battery will still run down, but we could probably slip a solar panel on the garage and no one would be the wiser. I could get one of our people to put the package in place while you are gone and no one will know,” he said awfully sure of himself. The GPS requires very low power we will put it inside one of the runway solar lights.
“Martin how did you know I had solar lights on the runway?” I asked. “Have you already landed there?”
“No we just took a look at it. It was all a routine scouting mission for emergency places to put down.” He sounded convincing, but I didn’t believe him. He didn’t really expect me to. It was more a plausible story line meant to confuse.
Soldiers from the Church Camp, downtown businessmen, and cops all came over to speak to me. I had one more chance to stop by to see Reggie and I planned to do that the next day. I did not plan to get blown away drunk, but the best laid plans etc.
I had so much to drink that The Brit and Jeremy would not let me leave. I got put on their sofa for the night. Like all of us they had a sofa which was a comfortable emergency bed. I slept really well and for the record I wasn’t falling down drunk, but I was too drunk to drive. Especially since the state police would love to lock me up for most anything.
The Brit woke up when I did. Since I was going to shower and change later anyway I asked, “Wanna go for a run with me?”
“Sure Jeremy won’t be awake for a couple of more hours. Do you still remember your route for a downtown run?” The Brit asked.
“Of course I do. It won’t be a great run since I have the wrong shoes but at least they aren’t boots or heels,” I observed.
“I would love to see you run in either. So lets go do it,” he suggested.
The run took us through the unique area a block from the downtown that was filled with hundred year old houses. Most had been chopped up for apartments, but some were still stately single family dwellings. We ran for about an hour hard, because The Brit ran for speed. I on the other hand ran for distance. I was badly winded at the end of that hour.
I was gasping for breakfast when I suggested, “Cafe on the Square for breakfast.”
“Okay, but you are buying wimp,” The Brit said with a laugh.
After breakfast we parted company in front of the pub. I drove straight to Reggie’s Gym and found it closed. That being the case I went home for a shower and a nap. Sleeping was the only thing to do with a hangover like the one I was fighting.
The nap lasted till 2 PM then I went back to the phone again. I called the CEO of the Electric Car Company on his private number. “Hello there,” I said when he answered. “Send me your cabin’s location and the time you want to meet.”
“Good to talk to you again Sylvia,” he said into the phone.
“We need to get something straight right now. From now on you are never to call me Sylvia. I will refer to you by your job title or Mr. Evans. It would be better if you never spoke to me or acknowledged me at all,” I said.
“I see, I suppose that is to help with your cover story,” he said.
“Let’s save it all till we meet tomorrow,” I said.
“Okay fine. Mine is the only driveway on the East side of Briarwood Road just outside of Stanleyville Tennessee,” he explained. Let’s make it noon. The family will be gone by noon, I expect. Don’t worry though there will be a driver waiting to take me back to the city.”
“Okay, I will see you at noon tomorrow. I’ll call when I get close to make sure everyone is gone. We will speak alone and the driver will be sent away for a couple of hours before I arrive,” I explained.
“Don’t you think that is a little overly dramatic?” he asked.
“Tell you what, why don’t you go out and try to infiltrate a gang, who probably stole a million dollars from you last year. See if they might just take you out, so they can keep on stealing. Guys do a lot of strange things when they think someone is about to break their rice bowl.”
“But my driver I trust with my life,” he said.
“Well that’s nice but I don’t even trust him with my life. I might have no choice in your case but I do in his. Humor me or we split the blankets right here,” I explained.
“Okay, then I will be waiting alone for you,” Mr. Evans said.
After I broke that connection I went back to Reggie’s gym. I saw his ratty old Ford parked there. I pushed the buzzer by the door that told him someone wanted to see him. “Go away I’m closed damn it,” he said.
“Have you eaten at all today?” I asked.
“Who the hell are you to ask me such a thing,” he shouted through the door.
“I’m Sylvia Porter you mean old prick,” I said.
“Sylvia girl,” he said opening the door. “Did you come to work out?”
“No Reggie, I just came to see you. Are you taking care of yourself?” I asked.
“I am indeed. I got a couple of good fighters, even if they are gangsters,” he said.
“Well I’m no longer the Sheriff, so there is nothing much I can do about them anyway,” I said.
“I know you not the sheriff no more,” he said. “I got punched a lot, but I ain’t senile yet.” Reggie was defiant.
“Reggie you got anybody to look after you. You know to make sure you eat and all that?” I asked.
“Got me a daughter. She makes sure I eat and pays my bills for me,” he said.
“Can you give me her name and number?” I asked.
“Sure here,” he said taking off his dog tags. I wrote her name down. If she went to the trouble to give him a dog tag so that the medics could find her, maybe she was looking after him. He probably shouldn’t be driving but then he probably shouldn’t have been when I was Sheriff either. I never stopped him then, so it was really none of my business now.
I walked out into the parking lot to make the call. “Hello this is Sylvia Porter, I’m at your dad gym,” I said.
“Is he alright?” she asked with genuine concern in her voice.
“He recognized me and speaks coherently, so he would pass the senility test. I just wanted to check to be sure he was doing okay,” I said.
“He mentioned you, and I know you were once the Sheriff here,” she said
“Yes, I worked out in his gym often when I lived here. How is Reggie doing?” I asked.
“He has some really good days like today, and some days he would not recognize you,” she said.
“I see. He is living with you then?” I asked.
“Yes and my son Randolph,” she said.
“I see, well I just wanted to be sure someone was looking out for him,” I said. I hung up and didn’t go back inside. It was kind of sad, but you can’t save the whole world.
Back at the house I checked my email on my smart phone. It looked as though Mel’s business was doing enough, so that it might not need subsidizing. It was hard to tell since it had only been open a couple of days. I considered calling Wilson, but decided to let him make all the decisions till I got back down there. It would be good training. I had no idea how long the current assignment would last. That is if Mr. Evans and I could come to terms.
After all that I went to lay in my nice warm bed, since it was cold as a bitch outside. I wasn’t going to miss that weather for sure. I managed to get on line through a dial up server I could buy time on from anywhere in the country. I planned to do it, if I went to Tennessee. All I had to give them was a valid pay pal account. The IP didn’t ask for anything more. As long as I paid for the next month before it lapsed I was golden. I could use it from anywhere.
I fell asleep waiting for a download of maps for use the next day.
Edited by Walt